NFL News: Player News and Updates for 4/8/14
NFL Updates: Johnson, Freeman, Off-Season Schedule and More
April 8, 2014
With the off-season activities beginning around the NFL this week (for a handful of teams, anyway), it’s starting to feel like the 2014 campaign isn’t too far off. Let’s carry that optimism into our daily glance around the league. Here’s a look at some of the players and stories that are making headlines right now.
Stevie Johnson, WR, Buffalo Bills: It’s been a while since we’ve checked in on Johnson up in Buffalo, so let’s see how his 2014 is taking shape this off-season. After the Bills acquired Mike Williams from Tampa Bay, there was some speculation that they’d be moving on from Johnson.
That’s apparently not the case, as the team remains committed to the six-year veteran. Even though Johnson will stick the team with $8.5 million in cap money this year, he’s still expected to be the team’s top wide-out on opening weekend. He’ll be looking to bounce back after an injury-plagued 2013 that produced just 52 receptions and 597 receiving yards.
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Jason Avant, WR, Carolina Panthers: The Panthers have a new WR this morning, hours after signing Avant to a one-year deal during his visit. The former Eagle is coming off a 2013 during which he provided 38 receptions, 447 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
There really wasn’t much question that Avant would land somewhere. He’s got eight years of experience under his belt and still plenty left in the proverbial tank. He was previously linked to the Patriots and a handful of other potentially interested teams.
Josh Freeman, QB, Free Agent: Will the Bears be players on Freeman? It’s possible. He visited the team yesterday, as Chicago keeps poking around the free agent ranks in an attempt to find a reliable backup quarterback to Jay Cutler.
Freeman is coming off a pretty horrid year in 2013, but might be able to find success in the right system. He’s also been mentioned as a potential Raider. We’ll have to see where he lands.
Chris Johnson, RB, Free Agent: Let’s check out the latest dish on Johnson, who has been the most talked-about free agent since DeSean Jackson. There was a report that came out over the weekend concerning his lackadaisical attitude toward practice and prep work in Tennessee, which could potentially hurt his value in the free agent market.
That said, the Jets--who are the most likely team to make a major play at him--are reportedly not concerned with his work ethic. A change of scenery could do Johnson some good, and it won’t be too hard to outplay his down-year from 2013. We’ll keep you posted on where he’s apt to sign.
NFL Off-Season Key Dates: We’re now back to full-on anticipation mode for the 2014 campaign. Here’s a look at some of the noteworthy dates from this off-season period that should keep us occupied until the league kicks off again.
Important 2014 Dates:
February 3: Waiver System Starts (Teams can make transactions, cuts, etc.)
February 17-March 3: Franchise Tag Designation Period
February 19-25: NFL Combine (Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN)
March 8: Contract Negotiations for Unrestricted Free Agents Can Begin
March 11: League Year Officially Begins (4:00 PM ET)
March 23-28: Annual Owners Meetings (Orlando, FL)
May 8-10: NFL Draft
July 24: Training Camp Opens
September 4: First Game of the 2014 Season
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